Repost from CBS2.com
A Harvard professor testifying in a case challenging California’s gay marriage ban said Tuesday that procreation is historically not the only function of marriage.
In her second day of testimony, Nancy Cott, a U.S. history professor and the author of a book on marriage as a public institution, disputed a statement by a defense lawyer that states have a compelling interest to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples for the sake of procreation.
Cott said marriage also has served an economic purpose, with each spouse doing different jobs in the partnership. As the purposes of marriage have changed, the reasons to bar same-sex couples from marrying have gone away, she said.
“It seems to me that by excluding same-sex couples from the ability to marry and to engage in this institution, that society is actually denying itself another resource for stability and social growth,” she said.
Cott conceded under cross-examination that she couldn’t predict the consequences for society of same-sex marriage.
The lawsuit — brought by two same-sex couple unable to marry because of California’s Proposition 8 — is the first in a federal court to decide the constitutionality of state bans on gay marriage.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker is presiding over the case without a jury.